Part 87: Saber (V)
"I have to find out before that."
"I have to find out once and for all if meatloaf pairs well with noodle soup."
I need to know why she is fighting.
" But I can't ask her straight on I have to try to ask her as indirectly as possible."
I make my mind up and stand up.
Let's go to the living room.
I hope I'll be able to penetrate the fortress using the calm before-dinner air as a shield
He already 'penetrated the fortress' a couple days ago. I'm so, so sorry.
They all give the same response with different expressions.
Music: Gentle Everyday
"I'm talking about after we win. I'm saying what should we do if we win the Holy Grail War."
"You don't need to explain the question but what's wrong? Why are you asking?"
Even though they don't nod, it seems like Saber and Ilya have the same question.
I guess it was unnatural to abruptly ask.
But I have to play ignorant for now.
"Well, it just came to mind.
There are only three Servants left, so it's not that weird to start thinking about it, right? There's not much left now and the end is near."
"Hmm Well, you're right.
Even you'll start thinking about it in this situation. Even though you didn't start this because you wanted to, I bet you're curious about the reward since you're risking your life."
"Y-Yeah. I'm curious."
Thank God Tohsaka likes to reason things out.
I think one of Tohsaka's good aspects is to consider anything as a possibility if it sounds reasonable.
Well, just in this case, though.
"So, how about you, Tohsaka? What will you do if you get the Holy Grail?"
I ask as naturally as I can.
" Let's see. I only really thought about winning, so there's nothing I wanted the Holy Grail to grant.
I'll get it, but I haven't thought about anything after that."
So she's fighting because she doesn't want to lose, huh?
Well, I guessed so, but I never really thought I'd be right.
"I'm stunned. You seem to be the one thinking the most, but you're actually the one who thinks the least."
"Heh, you're one to talk. Then what about you, Ilyasviel?"
"I don't know. I was just told that the Holy Grail is mine, so I shouldn't give it to anyone.
Since it's mine to begin with, of course I don't care about it."
" Oh. So you're saying the Holy Grail War is more fun than the Holy Grail?"
"Of course. I only came to win. I don't care who uses the Holy Grail."
The two glare at each other silently and there seems to be a sympathy I can't understand.
Saber doesn't say anything.
She must not intend to join this conversation.
Butno matter how much Saber hates it, I must ask her this question now.
"I kind of understand you two's intentions."
I try to nod naturally and
"Then how about you, Saber?"
I ask Saber.
Saber doesn't answer.
They must have realized Saber's acting in a complicated manner as they both stare at her.
If I'm counting, there must be about a minute's silence.
I do not know how powerful the Holy Grail is.
But as long as it is the Holy Grail, I must obtain it.
And of course, I would have my wish granted if it can grant it."
She said it.
Without a doubt, Saber said she has her own wish!
"I see. Then what's your wish?"
I restrain my pounding heart and ask calmly.
Saber doesn't answer.
That's fine too.
If she cannot answer, chances are good that her wish is a selfish one.
Considering Saber's personality, she would hesitate to speak of a selfish wish.
SoI would prefer if she keep quiet and not tell me a ridiculous wish.
Such whining fills my head.
"Is it that hard?
Grandfather said the wish of the Servants is to be resurrected into this world. Those Servants seek the Holy Grail to live a second life. Isn't that the case for you, Saber?"
I raise my head at her words.
There's no problem if that's Saber's wish.
My intentions are close to those of Rin and Ilyasviel. My goal is only to obtain the Holy Grail.
I became a Servant as a price to obtain the Holy Grail."
Music: Whirlpool of Fate
I knew that had to be it.
I knew the girl who took that oath pulling out the sword would not seek a second life.
" Hold on. You became a Servant in exchange for obtaining the Holy Grail ? You mean the contract when you become a heroic spirit?"
"Yes. In exchange for becoming a Servant, I seek the Holy Grail."
Then you're not a Servant summoned to obtain the Holy Grail, but you became a Servant by your own will !?"
Put on your seatbelts, prop your head up somewhere, and lay your finger on the down arrow.
She must be really surprised as she yells all this, then tilts her head not believing her own words.
" So Saber wasn't summoned because she was a heroic spirit, but she joined this battle willingly?"
"But as long as you're a Servant, you're respected as a heroic spirit. So you can't interfere with this world deliberately then you're well beyond the Servants' rule no, that's not right.
Geez, hold on. I'll work this out."
I am different from the other Servants.
I have yet to become a complete Servant."
"Not a complete Servant?"
What does that mean?
No, more importantlywhat does it mean to become a Servant?
She agreed to become a Servant as a price for obtaining the Holy Grail.
Then that means
" Hold on.
Could it be that the Servants are forced to fight as the price for obtaining something?"
"No, that is wrong. From the very beginning, Servants are special familiars that exist only for the Holy Grail War.
'Servant' is summoning magic that uses the special characteristics of the heroic spirits.
They were originally heroic spirits, so they do not have any rules like 'I was given bread, so I have to work.'"
" Yeah. The Servant system uses heroic spirits, guardian spirits.
They're using something that already exists, so there's no price for the Masters or the Servants to pay."
"But I've heard that before they become a Servantthey need to pay a price to become a heroic spirit.
Heroic spirits are guardians of the people, right?
It's like they work for people even after they die to prevent the destruction of humanity and so on."
"So, to become this guardian, a living hero must make a contract with something.
This is the contract of the heroic spiritsa ritual to give their existence to the world after they die."
"The ones who obtain riches from the exchange become heroes, and after they do whatever they want to as heroes and die, they become Servants to pay for these riches.
So in other words, they go into debt to become a hero, and repay the debt when they die by becoming a heroic spirit.
We summon Servants by stealing the debt liability from the world."
"Hmso humans become heroes by contracting with something, and they're summoned as heroic spirits after they die to pay for becoming a hero?
Then the conditions of the exchange that Saber made is"
As Saber obtained the Holy Grail in her life, she became a heroic spirit after she died as a price?
" That's not right. Saber says her objective is to obtain the Holy Grail. But she should have already obtained it, because she became a hero in exchange for the Holy Grail."
"No, Shirou. I have not yet obtained the Holy Grail.
ArturiaKing Arthur's wish was to obtain the Holy Grail while she lived.
I had to obtain the Holy Grail before I died.
So I agreed that I would become a heroic spirit after I died if I could obtain the Holy Grail."
I love how she just sort of decided this a few hundred years before the Holy Grail War existed.
"As Rin said, humans make a contract with the world to become a hero, receive powers beyond human, and pay for it with life after death.
But I did not need the help of the world to become a hero. Fortunately, King Arthur needed no support to become a hero."
She didn't need support to become a hero.
So Saber became a hero by her own powers.
Does that mean King Arthur requested a different exchange from the world after he became a hero?"
" Yes. I needed the Holy Grail in my final moments. I could not stand not having the Holy Grail. A wish appeared that I needed to have granted.
That is why I made the contract of the heroic spirits.
That if I could obtain the Holy Grail, I would wield my sword as a heroic spirit after my death."
I can't die here.
I didn't want an end like this.
Soif she wishes to prolong her life, she shouldn't be embarrassed about it
" I see. So you became able to obtain the Holy Grail by selling yourself off after death.
But Saber, your condition was to obtain the Holy Grail while you were alive, right?
"Yes. I could not complete my search for the Holy Grail while I was alive. IKing Arthur could not obtain the Holy Grail even at the very end.
But the contract cannot be completed like that.
For the world to obtain me as a Servant, it must grant the Holy Grail while King Arthur is alive.
"King Arthur will not die until she obtains the Holy Grail. No, King Arthur cannot die.
Then, you're "
" Yes. Time stopped for me, King Arthur, at the moment of death.
According to the timeline, I should be already dead, but it will not be able to fulfill the contract that way.
King Arthur is summoned as a Servant and must die after she obtains the Holy Grail."
"So time itself isn't stopped, but you're stopped in time, huh?
It doesn't matter how many times you repeat the fight as a Servant. Because the result of obtaining the Holy Grail and fulfilling your contract is determined, so "
"That is correct. Eventually, I will obtain the Holy Grail and fulfill the contract. That is why I can be summoned into many ages before I become a heroic spirit, on the condition that my becoming a heroic spirit is already determined."
If there is a chance to obtain the Holy Grail, I will be summoned to any battlefield.
And when I eventually obtain the Holy Grail and grant my wish, my stopped time shall start moving again.
King Arthur will face death and become a heroic spirit as a price for obtaining the Holy Grail."
" So it's like having a dream you can't wake up from right before your death, huh?
This Holy Grail War is just one of those dreams for Saber.
And you'll only be able to wake up when you obtain the Holy Grail."
"Rin, you said that Shirou could not turn me into spirit form because he is inexperienced. But that is wrong. I cannot become a spirit because I have not died yet.
I am handled differently, but I am still classified as a living being.
It was the same in the last Holy Grail War."
Saber says so as if she's apologizing.
I guess because she was lying about being stuck in physical form because I was inexperienced.
I don't really care about that.
It's good that Shirou doesn't mind being called incompetent.
There's something more important that I have to ask her.
"Saber. What do you mean by you're not dead yet? I understand that you won't die until you obtain the Holy Grail.
From the conversation, I understand that you haven't been alive since the time of King Arthur.
But then, what are you right now?
You're not a copy of the real body, right?"
"No. 'Heroic spirits' that are summoned are all like copies of the 'true body', but I have not yet reached that rank.
Until I obtain the Holy Grail, I am called in the form of 'myself about to die'."
"As Rin said, King Arthur is stopped in the river of time.
I must jump forward or backward from that position, and return to that stopped point once I obtain the Holy Grail."
This Nasu-explanation is so unwieldly it even has diagrams!
I see, it's pretty simple once I visualize it.
King Arthur is stopped at the moment before death.
The flow of time doesn't care that she's stopped.
It keeps flowing and we're at the present.
She jumps to each time as needed and returns to her own time after completing her duty.
So, in other words, the legendary King Arthur was really a girl who traveled forward in time before her death in order to obtain the holy grail by whoring herself out to a Japanese high school student.
If she obtains the Holy Grail in one of the times she visits, her time will flow again and she will die, just like the history we know today.
Then heroic spirits must exist like this.
When they die, they are transferred to a place like a 'warehouse', where time doesn't flow.
I know the other contest isn't over yet, but I can't resist yet another one. How would an employee at the heroic spirit warehouse answer the phone?
And they are summoned into various ages and disappear without returning.
So that must be what they mean by heroic spirits being a copy.
It's like a clone made from their DNA.
The 'heroic spirit' that has complete abilities and memories of when it was alive will appear in this world and learn many things. But it is useless.
They have no way to return to the main body, but merely disappear.
So no matter how many times they are summoned into the same age, there will be no inconsistencies in their memories.
I assume the ones that became heroic spirits will not change anymore.
Even if they obtain new knowledge, the self that learns it will just disappear once the duty is complete.
In that regard, Saber isn't a complete Servant.
Because Saber returns to her own time even after she is summoned.
To the self that is about to die on that bloody hill.
Then, what? You're going to take it back to your time and use it if you obtain the Holy Grail!?
That's altering the past! Time travel and management of parallel universes is sorcery. There's no way you'll be able to do that."
"But the Holy Grail allows me to do this.
I made a contract that I would become a Servant if I can use the Holy Grail.
The price being becoming a Servant, even if it means the elimination of the person called Arturia."
Saber talks without much interest.
But that's strange.
Making a wish come true using the Holy Grail, that's fine.
But why did she say Arturia would disappear as a result?
" What are you talking about? Arturia will disappear when she uses the Holy Grail ? Don't mess around.
That girl, about to die quietly, alone on that hill.
"not going to use the Holy Grail to save yourself?"
I can sense that my face is frozen.
I should already have realized this, but my mind is spacing out and I feel like throwing up.
Music: Ever-present Feeling
I force my question out.
"It is obvious.
I could not protect my country. I became king to protect the country, but I could not fulfill that duty.
I thought at that time
That perhaps the sword chose me by mistake."
" No, I always had such doubts.
That I might not be the right king.
That there was another hero who should have been chosen.
At that timewhen I pulled the sword out, there must have been a suitable king who would have been able to save the country I could not.
So if I could redo the selection of the king using the power of the Holy Grail, then"
Does she mean to say that her country would not have been destroyed if she returned to that time?
I feel faint.
I'm quickly surpassing mere anger that Saber would seriously wish for such a thing.
I guess I'm dumbfounded right now.
It's only natural.
Saber's wish is not for herself. And on top of that, it means her elimination.
The girl in front of me exists because that holy sword was there and because a king pulled it out.
Preventing that would mean that the girl in front of me would not exist.
Let's say she grants her wish using the Holy Grail.
The girl Arturia, never becoming king, would live out her days as a knight.
But what about the Saber in front of me?
As she is a heroic spirit, she will continue to be summoned to fight after her wish is granted.
Since she paid a price to obtain the Holy Grail, Saber will continue to be, even if Arturia doesn't become king.
Taken away from the future and from the past.
She will forever be the lonely king dying on that hill.
I can't allow that.
There's no salvation there.
Even if she did redo everything and there really is a more appropriate king and her country lasts longer as a result, and even if she is saved
It's a lie.
Even if everyone around her becomes happy, the ten years she fought can't just disappear.
"Noyou can't do that.
You can't redo things and it's useless even to try."
You're going to obtain the Holy Grail by fighting yourself, right? So you should use that miracle for your own sake."
" As I have told you, I will be using it for myself.
IArturia must fulfill her duty as king."
So why don't you understand!?
"Don't be ridiculous, you've already fulfilled more than your duty ! You've fought that much already. You didn't give up even when you were betrayed or feared. You didn't let go of your sword until the very end on that hill.
So whywhy do you have to keep such promises even after you die !?"
It's too late to regret what I've said.
I shouldn't have admitted that I see Saber's past in my dreams.
There are no words to give her nor any words to reply.
I can sense that anything I say will backfire in this situation.
But stillI can't just stay silent.
" Saber. I don't like it when people aren't rewarded for their hard work."
It's meaningless that way, and it's just too unfair.
I know it's a childish ideal, but I want to believe that people will get happier the more they work for it.
" I won't lose to other Masters.
I'll obtain the Holy Grail for sure.
So please, grant your own wish.
If you doI'll actually be able to find some meaning in this stupid war."
That's the conclusion I've reached.
I don't know what the Holy Grail is nor if it's right to obtain it.
But if Saber will be saved even a little, I'll be able to try with all my powers
Music: Footsteps of Destruction
Even though the lights suddenly went off, nobody says a thing and tries to feel the surroundings.
The loud ring stops and the living room is silent.
The sound of light things rubbing against each other can be heard in the distance.
Sounds like a normal day at the Emiya household.
" Was that alarm the boundary field on this house ?"
I nod silently.
This sound is the same as when Lancer intruded.
Then this must be
The sounds are increasing and coming closer.
A strange sound.
It reminds me of bugs crawling around a light trap.
This living room is the only place free of the sound.
It hasn't even been a minute yet since the lights went out, but the living room is surrounded by this unknown sound.
"An enemy? But even for a Servant, this is "
There's too many of them.
I'm a magus too, even if I'm a bad one.
I can sense that many sources of magical energy surround this place.
Skimming quickly, I can at least count twenty.
But they are strangely light.
I don't feel any human will.
The things making the sounds are like empty puppets.
Unlike the three of us who are tense, Ilya is strangely calm.
"You can tell, Ilya!?"
"Of course. I can sense any Servant. The one outside is Caster, and there are lots of other things out there too. Oh, they're just cheap golems bound by dragons' teeth."
Ilya says simply.
Andthe sound stops at the same time.